The Many Bonds Theory is simple in its premise. The theory goes that James Bond is not a man, but a codename and that several men have operated under this codename. Each of the actors who portrayed Bond portrayed a different man. It should be noted here that this theory is not my own and that the arguments are also not my own, though I did introduce my own wrinkles here and there. The words are mine though. I’ll claim those.
Now, in order for this theory to work we must do two things right off the bat. We must disregard the Daniel Craig Bond. Casino Royale was a reboot of the series, meant to be taken as a prequel to the previous movies. And, not to inflict spoilers on you, but Skyfall states pretty conclusively that his true name is James Bond. Now, after Daniel Craig decides to leave the series, the theory can come into play again when the next actor takes his place.
We must also disregard the books. I’ve only read the Ian Fleming books and I have absolutely no interest in the other ones, but it makes for a confusing mess trying to fit that all into the canon of the movies.
Now that we’ve tidied up the playing field a bit, we can proceed.
In order for there to be an honest to God canon, there needs to be an explanation for how the James Bond who fought against the Soviets in the 1960’s is the same Bond who ended up fighting North Korean terrorists in Die Another Day. Just the problem of time is enough to unhinge the series, if we’re to believe that Bond is the same man. Bond is in his mid-thirties in the 1960’s, meaning he’d be in his ’70s at the time of the last Brosnan movie.
There is also the change in personalities. No one would confuse the playful and smirking Roger Moore with the more lethal and dry Sean Connery. And can anyone imagine Pierce Brosnan using the same disguise and terrible nasally voice as a cover as George Lazenby did? While basic traits remained the same, they were different men who approached their profession in different ways.
There were even little differences like Sean Connery smoking cigarettes and martinis, while Roger Moore preferred cigars and brandy, while Brosnan was a complete nonsmoker.
There are also the points in which each actor left the series. Sean Connery left after destroying SPECTRE’s volcano headquarters and killing the head of SPECTRE (or so he thinks). A good point in which to leave a career.
Next, Lazenby is Bond. (Fun Fact: At the end of the pre-credit sequence, Lazenby turns to the camera and makes a smart-ass remark about “the other guy”. See? More proof that Bond is more than one man!). At the end of that movie (Spoilers, obviously), he is married, only to have his wife brutally murdered by Blofeld, (Back from the dead, leading to my counter theory that Blofeld is also a codename for the head of SPECTRE).
Lazenby drops out of the surface and Connery returns. His desire to revenge himself upon Blofeld is not because Blofeld killed HIS wife, but because Blofeld attacked the family of a fellow agent. Once again, he kills Blofeld and that’s it for Connery (except for a terrible remake of Thunderball in the early 80’s called Never Say Never Again, which is not canon. Thank God. There’s a scene of Bond defeating a henchman with his own urine sample).
Next Roger Moore takes up the mantle of Bond. Rather than tragedy ending his career, he retires due to old age. Moore is 57 at the time of that filming.
Dalton is up and in his second movie, has his double-O status remanded because he’s taking the law into his own hands. His actions result in the botching of an undercover operation, the death of agents from Hong Kong and unsanctioned murders of multiple people. And then he’s never seen again. Obviously Dalton is taken out by his own government.
Brosnan ends his career after being captured and tortured at the hands of terrorists. Is it any wonder that he doesn’t come back after that final mission?
Lastly, there are the secondary characters. At the start of the series, Felix Leiter is introduced as near Bond’s own age, . In the last movie he’s seen in before the Daniel Craig Bond movies, Leiter looks considerably older than Dalton. Other characters, like Moneypenny, M and Q also get older while Bond stays around the same age, because the same actors play them well into the ’80s. The Leiter age difference is more striking since a different actor is playing him. They deliberately went with someone considerably older that Bond.
In conclusion, every Bond except for Daniel Craig and maybe Sean Connery (after all, there’s no guarantee that there wasn’t another Bond before him) was the real Bond. Everyone else was a man acting under a codename.
Like The Batman.